Updated: Jul 24, 2018
This little girl is our poster girl. She is the reason that My Shining Star even exists. She is the driving force in all that we do and she is the sole reason that the four founding trustees met in the first place.
Many people who have followed the start of the journey for MSS already know how much Ruby has gone through and how hard we had to push to raise funds and awareness for her treatment. Until a child you love is diagnosed with cancer, it's really hard to comprehend the heartbreak of it all.
When Anita first saw Ruby after she had come home from being diagnosed, she tried not to express her absolute horror to Vikki. Anita hadn't seen Ruby for a little while as her own little girl had not long come out of hospital. When Anita did finally get to visit her friend Vikki, Ruby was on the sofa in a nappy and she had lost a lot of her hair, but still had some wispy bits. Her stomach was huge and swollen and her arms and legs were so skinny. She will still say now that it was one of the worst moments of her life seeing Ruby like that, and she's not even Anita’s daughter. How could her best friend and her baby be going through this?!
Anita went home and cried loads and thought what on earth could she do to help her friend…? She was beyond exhausted and devastated and there was nothing Anita or anyone could say to make it better. Ruby hadn't walked in weeks because her legs hurt due to cancer and Vikki couldn't move for her; she carried her everywhere.
The first practical thing Anita remembers doing was picking up the hoover. Just little things like that, things we all take for granted, and Vikki couldn't do them. She was terrified of Ruby's low immunity and germs, which at many stages could have killed her. Anita went on to build a very strong team of volunteers and like-minded individuals who wanted to change the path of Ruby’s cancer journey in any way that they could. ‘Team Ruby’ was born with Anita leading the way, and in less than two years over £600,000 was raised to contribute to possible future treatment for Ruby.
This was just the tip of the iceberg. Ruby has had: surgery, been subject to clinical trials, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, stem cell harvests major surgery, radiotherapy... We're sure we've left out so much. Oh and well over 100 blood transfusions and platelets.
It's horrendous. Some pictures that Vikki sent to Anita from hospital were too difficult to share as we didn't want to upset you all.
What we guess we want to say though is that there are a lot of Ruby’s. She has inspired all of us to start a charity in order to be able to support these families and their children. Many face losing their homes because they are in hospital with a child with cancer. Dig a little deeper and you'll see how awful it is. Everyone hates the word 'charity', but we're lucky that most of you know what we stand for and how hard Anita and all of our team worked for the campaign. We are sure you know how hard we want to work for other children too. We are friends that want to make a difference and highlight the struggle. Many children don't come through this, so where does that leave their parents?
If you haven't already, please like our Facebook page 'My Shining Star'. You've all taken Ruby to your hearts, it's in Ruby's name that we are here wanting to help other children and their families keep the roof over their heads. To make them feel supported. To ease the pain for their siblings.
Thank you Ruby for inspiring so many of us. We love you. Please give our page a ‘like’. It's back to the very beginning again with our charity but if we help ten families we've succeeded.
(Written by Anita on behalf of the trustees.)